Frustration sets in for Flames after falling to Blues in fifth straight loss
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Another slow start.
The Calgary Flames didn’t get a point this time.
Instead, another frustrating performance left the Flames (13-12-6) on the wrong side of a 5-2 record against the St. Louis Blues (15-15-1) at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday night.
They’re about to embark on a four-game road trip that will feature winnable games against teams below them in standings. It’s a point-scoring opportunity… but the same has been said of the five-game streak the Flames just finished on Friday night, and they’ve lost all five games — despite picking up loser points in three of them.
But they didn’t even manage that much on Friday night.
A struggling offensive saw only goals from young defender Connor Mackey. They were the second and third goals of his NHL career. Dillon Dube and Elias Lindholm collected assists on both goals, but otherwise the offense remained flat.
And while the Blues were playing their second game in as many nights after beating the Oilers in a shootout in Edmonton on Thursday, they were the team that came out with more energy and an early lead than Ivan Barbashev with a two shot home. on-one only 4:07 into play.
Early goals against are becoming a worrying trend for the Flames and playing from behind is definitely not ideal for a team that’s been struggling to score lately – they’ve managed just 12 in the last five.
To their credit, the Flames managed to get one back when a dube shot deflected late in the first half from Mackey and landed in the net, but his offense largely dried up from there.
The Flames did manage to fire 42 shots at Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, but it was Markstrom who was often tasked with getting in the way of the more dangerous opportunities. Markstrom’s last stat line wasn’t great, as he only saved 18 shots from 23, but he can’t be blamed for that loss.
It was at the other end of the ice where the concerns should lie. The Flames went 0-to-3 on the power play and at times appeared to settle for outside shots while struggling to create traffic in front of Binnington.
Next up is California. There are winnable games on this journey.
But if they want to capitalize on that, they need to be a lot better than they were on Friday night.
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Prior to Friday’s game, the Flames had gone 18 one-goal games this season. That’s more than any other team in the NHL.
What does head coach Darryl Sutter say about his team?
Well, it pretty much tells it what you would think it’s telling it.
“It means you either win by a difference, or you’re tied, or you lose by one,” Sutter said. “If you think about it, that’s what it means.”
The Flames head coach added that the stats suggest the Flames have at least gotten the mix right in most of the games they’ve played this season.
Unfortunately, the Flames only had a 7-5-6 record in those one-goal games going into Friday night’s action.
The Flames need to start converting some of those one-goal losses into wins, which is easier said than done.
“I think we’re in every game,” Sutter said. “(But) I said the other night, right, 100%, you need game-breaking guys.
Happy birthday to Markstrom and his new fiancé Amanda. The Flames announced on Twitter Friday afternoon that the two have become engaged… The Flames will not be wearing their reverse retros again this season after rocking them for the last time in Wednesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. However, Friday’s game was the first of 10 games left in their Blasty jerseys… The Wranglers will throw a big celebration for Brett Sutter on December 21st. The forward will be playing his 1,000th AHL game…Mackey’s goal in the first period was his second in the NHL, but his previous tally came at the end of the 2021 season when COVID restrictions were in full effect. That meant Friday’s goal was his first in front of real fans.
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